Morning Joe | August 08, 2012
>>> he'd ask the middle class to pay more in taxes so that she could give another $250,000 -- he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making -- it's like robinhood in reverse. it's romneyhood.
>> we've been watching the president say a lot of things about me and about my policies and they're just not right. and if i were to coin a term it would be obamaloney. he's serving up a dish which is simply in contradiction of the truth and it relates to everything from how i'm going to help the middle class to tax policy . he's simply saying things that are not accurate.
>> lordy. welcome back to " morning joe ." it's the top of the hour. washington , d.c. looking mighty fine this summer morning. are you all right there?
>> doing great.
>> michael steele and --
>> sam stein with us in washington . along with mark halperin in new york and joining us on set --
>> this is huge.
>> obama campaign and former white house press secretary , robert gibbs .
>> i got to say, i was very impressed, mika , that people in the control room remembered the old brother gibbs joke, staying alive. walking on playing the bee gees .
>> you got to hear a little bit of begys. how is auburn going to be this year?
>> joe , we'll under promise and over perform. the boys ready and going to have a good year.
>> are you going down to games?
>> i will sneak down to games.
>> even this fall.
>> the best thing i ever did was get my son interested in it and then take him to a game and sort of guarantees now can't let my son down.
>> a good parent. good parenting skills , right.
>> i have an 8-year-old girl kate that turns 9 today. happy birthday , kate.
>> so awesome.
>> i think i need to buy her a set of golf clubs for her birthday.
>> get her out on the golf course .
>> that's what has to be done.
>> just the responsibleness.
>> we have been bemoaning for some time, not just us, david brooks , people on the left, the right, are complaining about this campaign that it's joyless, a campaign about nothing. tell us what we're missing?
>> i think this is -- i think this is a, a big campaign, about very big issues we and we have a very big choice to make. we're going to figure out how we're going to move this economy forward, make some huge decisions on budget and tax policy . nothing could be more fundamental and more important as we go forward. i think we tend to get distracted by small things, but i don't think there's any doubt that issues and the choice in this campaign couldn't --
>> boil it down. for an independent voter that it's going to give you 15 seconds, what's the biggest choice between mitt romney and barack obama ?
>> i think how we're going to move this economy forward. mitt romney thinks we move this economy forward by showering millionaires and billionaires with more and more tax cuts and hope it trickles down. barack obama wants to protect the middle class that are playing by the rules and acting responsibly and give them a shot at the american dream .
>> and so --
>> i need --
>> that was good, about 20 seconds.
>> i'm an independent voter , i don't -- i'm making $55,000, $60,000, but i dream one day of having my own small business and making a couple hundred thousand , $250,000, $300,000 and i'm skeptical about raising taxes on people making $250,000 and up. tell me how does that grow our economy over the next four years?
>> look, if you elect mitt romney to pay for his $5 trillion tax cut for people that make a million or a billion dollars, the guy making $55,000 is going to get an additional tax bill. it's mathematically impossible to do --
>> so i don't -- so mitt romney yeah, his wife has a million dollar horse, i'm focusing on barack obama now.
>> whose wife --
>> i'm that guy that doesn't have a million dollar horse but has a nice house. so the question is, how does barack obama 's plan to raise taxes on people making 250 and above, how does that help? how does that grow the economy?
>> well, what happens, joe , we're going to grow the economy by investing in, as you said, the middle class , by investing, cutting taxes on small business as the president has done, investing in education and infrastructure so that small business can hire the workers that they need to make the products that they want to sell, that they can get them to market, and quite frankly , in this country, as you do really well, you have to give back a little bit. that's what -- that's what's always happened. we're all in this together.
>> so what's the push behind the tax increase? what do you say --
>> no, no -- the tax increase look --
>> you're letting it expire.
>> we've had the bush tax cuts in place, the single largest driver to our debts and our deficit over the past 12 years since they went into place. we understand we can't pay for everything. we've had this great debate --
>> why did the president turn the bush tax cuts into the obama tax cuts by extending them two more years.
>> because republicans , the only way we could get a payroll tax cut and prevent middle class taxes from going up, republicans held the whole thing hostage for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. we can't do that. we've had this great debate. washington is this interesting place where things happen and months later everybody has a panic attack . a couple weeks ago the panic attack was on defense sequestration and nobody thinks that we ought to have a defense budget that's decided by arbitrary numbers. okay. so i ask any republican, i'd ask chairman steele, do you want to make sure our men and women in afghanistan and iraq and around the world have the resources that they need or do you think that money is better spent on a tax cut for millionaires? that's the choice. we understand we can't do everything.
>> a very hard choice.
>> is that the choice, sfll.
>> sure. i mean unless you can figure out how to print more money.
>> wait a minute. were the democrats like, you know, at disneyland during those discussions and weren't they a part of promoting this se sequestration and arguing for these and backing away from. point two.
>> let him answer point one first.
>> the sequestration was supposed to be the incentive for republicans and democrats to come together and we had a grand bargain and republicans walked away from the grand bargain because why did they walk away from the grand bargain? they don't think they put tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires above everything.
>> because you wouldn't cut anything.
>> we cut a trillion dollars in spending over the next ten years. there's spending cuts on the table.
>> you cut a trillion and spent $5 trillion. we're $4 trillion in the hole.
>> what's the biggest driver of that hole? michael , the biggest driver of that hole is tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
>> those amount to how much each year?
>> $80 billion.
>> $110 billion for the wealthy.
>> what's the sequestration for the first year? $110 billion.
>> $110 billion gets you what? what's that going to get you?
>> so michael --
>> $4 trillion hole what does 180 --
>> michael , let me -- hey, hold on a second.
>> is your thing if we can't -- if we can't come up with $5 trillion we shouldn't do anything? i mean --
>> michael , let me explain here.
>> hold on, robert . i got to explain something.
>> we've got ground rules here.
>> i need an education here.
>> we've got ground rules . you're talking loud. a lot of physical --
>> we don't interrupt on this show.
>> unless it's me.
>> my bad.
>> sam stein --
>> i didn't get that memo.
>> i don't know how to jump into this conversation.
>> you need to grab him.
>> let me ask you a slightly different thing which is you know, when obama 2008 the whole notion w as post partisanship, change the type of politics we engage in. i think the record is pretty clear when he came to washington , he realized he had to be somewhat of an inside operator couldn't look at health care , a number of deals including the failure to get a grand bargain with john boehner , those were inside deals conducted in private. do you think that's contributing to what we see as sort of a general enthusiasm gap that he has with the base that people expected a little bit more out of him and got something that they didn't want?
>> see, i honestly haven't seen a poll recently that demonstrates an enthusiasm gap.
>> well -- i knew you were going to do that because you do that at the white house briefing.
>> i don't make up polls at the white house briefing. i just say sam i don't think there's a poll that demonstrates that huge -- i think --
>> the other problem in general --
>> i think the base understands what's at stake in this election. the base understands that everything that's been done to get our economy out of the ditch and moving forward, an economy that was losing 800,000 jobs a month to creating over the past 29 months 4.5 million private sector jobs that's all at stake in this election.
>> what about my broader point, that post-partisanship he promised has gone amuck?
>> i watched barack obama as a state senator and as a u.s. senator work with republicans that were very willing to work with him. i think when barack obama came to washington , republicans changed the way they worked with democrats.
>> you can say the same -- george bush said the same thing. texas democrats talked about how great he was working with democrats. and then he came to washington and it stopped.
>> well, look, let's take no child left behind . ted kennedy worked with pretty vociferous worked with george bush who on the republican side has been their ted kennedy , who on their side that's going to reach across the aisle and work on something that makes sense for the american people ?
>> of course you could flip that question.
>> arlen specter crossed the aisle.
>> mika --
>> we've been talking about a lot of things that i think are really interesting to us and a lot of people in the echo chamber and certainly in washington . but what about the independent voter out there or the republican who voted for obama or the democrat who's on the fence, this time around, looking at your president and you're in charge of the campaign, saying he didn't do it? he didn't move the meter? things are not going to be better tomorrow . why would i give him another chance? what is the answer to that?
>> first of all, mika , this notion that somehow things are the same as they were when barack obama walked into the oval office on january 20th or january 21st , remember, we had an economy that was shrinking by 8.9%, we were losing 800,000 jobs.
>> how do you tell that to these folks, these people who are hurting. i understand. i get it. you don't have to -- i think there's a sense out there of real desperation and of real concern. how do you get through to people?
>> i think people in real america understand it a lot better than people do in washington . people in america understood, we did not get into this mess from september 15th , 2008 , when lehman collapsed until the end of the year. we had been with watching wages go down for years and years and years. people working harder and harder, not getting ahead. the price of everything from gas to college tuition going un. we didn't get into this mess, quite frankly , overnight. they understand that it took years to get into this mess and it's going to take years to get out of this mess. particularly when you come out of an economic downturn that's driven by a financial crisis , at a time in which not just the american economy has slowed, but the world economy has slowed, people understand that it's going to take us a while to get out of this mess. the question is, what direction are you going to take to get out of it? what is your economic theory to do that?
>> what is your economic theory to do that?
>> to invest in the middle class and make sure they have a fair shot.
>> what are you going to invest in?
>> making sure we have good education. the best thing --
>> so --
>> are you going to spend more money? i'm talking about moving -- i'm talking about moving forward.
>> with the interruption rule apply --
>> it doesn't apply to me. i made that perfectly clear 123450 you made that clear.
>> i made that clear when i called him out for interrupting you. you've talked about the middle class . i'm saying specifically, hold on, robert , one of the great frustrations of everybody on this show and i'm trying to set up the question.
>> everybody's talking about james carville said it on the show, everybody is talking about the past, everybody is talking about the mistakes people have made in the past, nobody is talking specifically what changes over the next four years? what will president obama be able to pass on let's say education.
>> how is he going to drive this thing?
>> let's talk about education. if you look at the most recent jobs report two of the worst sectors were construction and education jobs. does anybody think this country is going to maintain its economic superiority in the world by not investing in teachers, by having classrooms that are -- have one teacher for 29 or 30 kids?
>> so --
>> let's give states some help in making sure that we hire more teachers. let's cut taxes for small business . here's a good example. expiring at the end of the year is what's called the production tax credit for the production of wind energy . okay. this was a tax credit written by chuck grassley , senior republican, conservative from iowa. it is predicated on not building something, but actually producing something. right. producing wind energy which reduces our dependence on foreign oil . many republicans in the congress want to extend it. many democrats in the congress want to extend it. mitt romney , wants to end it. it's actually caused some consternation at the base.
>> you talked about education and sounded like you're talking about sending more money back to the states. what's the president's proposal over the next four years? how much money does he want to give in education to the states?
>> we've given -- the federal government provides on the magnitude of about 7% of what a state normally spends. obviously we can help deal with state budget crunches again by making sure we have enough money to retain teachers. we've got to do some work on no child left behind . we have, obviously, a lot of work to do to make sure that kids that work hard and qualify to go to college, can go to college and aren't prevented because they can't afford it.
>> you know i love you.
>> oh, god.
>> this is not going to go well.
>> despite the fact he's a war eagle . it does when you walk off this set sounds like a bunch of generalities. what have i heard from what robert has said that is going to transform this country over the past four years and make sure that we don't have a lost -- actually two decades with george w. bush and barack obama , if he's re-elected? what's the -- what's the big idea ? because you've talked about education. yes need -- of course we all love education. i love sunshine and dafr foe dills.
>> hold on. let's not gloss over the fact, there's a difference in this -- there's a difference in education. if everybody was -- if everybody looked at education and everybody looked at retaining teachers as sunshine and daffodils nobody would be talking about it. the reason we are talking about it, the recent unemployment report showed that states are letting teachers go, right?
>> so the obama plan to save education is -- fill in the blank? what is it?
>> hiring more teachers, making sure that kids can afford college. we shouldn't penalize kids that can qualify to go to college but somehow their parents can't afford it.
>> how much money do we invest in education over the next four years?
>> i don't have the exact figure in front of me, but obviously there's -- any help the federal government can give the states is a needed and necessary and worth while investment to ensure that the american people are creating a work force for tomorrow.
>> let's go to mark halperin , in washington , d.c. i think -- i mean he's in new york.
>> that's where we are.
>> oh, yeah.
>> he's another crimson guy. just crimson. not a crimson tide guy.
>> i'll preface my question by professing my love for you as joe did.
>> i realize this is a technique.
>> are you familiar --
>> i want you to ask me a question and say you hate me.
>> it's a southern technique.
>> like when a southern woman says isn't she sweet? going, mark.
>> bless her heart.
>> are you familiar with the new ad by the white house sanction super pac that has a man suggesting that governor romney was responsible for his wife's tragic death?
>> i have seen some write-ups about it. i have not seen the ad. i didn't watch tv last night.
>> can we -- do we have the ad? let's run the ad.
>> when mitt romney and bain closed the plant i lost my health care . and my family lost their health care . and a short time after that my wife became ill. i don't know how long she was sick. and i think maybe she didn't say anything because she knew that we couldn't afford the insurance. and then one day she became ill and i took her up to the jackson county hospital and admitted her for pneumonia and that's when they found the cancer and by then it was stage 4. there was nothing they could do for her. and she passed away in 22 days. i do not think mitt romney realizes what he's done to anyone. and i furthermore, do not think mitt romney is concerned.
>> priorities usa action is responsible for the content of this advertising.
>> robert , we all feel bad for that man and, obviously, it's a heartfelt testimonial, but do you think that's an appropriate injection in this campaign of basically making the accusation that governor romney caused that woman's death?
>> look, mark, i think as you said, this is an ad by an entity that's not controlled by the campaign. i certainly don't know the specifics of this man's case. i do think there are -- is a lot of concern in the country about what happens when people lose their jobs. we know that when they lose their jobs because most of where people get their health care provided for is in their jobs, they tend to also lose their health care . the people become one bad illness or sickness away from losing their house, from losing their life savings, losing their ability to send their children to college and it's a huge fear and anxiety for families all over the country.
>> go ahead.
>> robert , with love and all due respect --
>> he loves you.
>> oh, god. horrible.
>> talking like a politician too.
>> that was --
>> next time i'm bringing my own group of people to say how much i love you guys.
>> that was a long way of avoiding answering the question.
>> well i don't know the specifics. i'm sorry.
>> i understand the super pac --
>> i love you but i can't interrupt you.
>> the super pac has no --
>> it's bill burton. come on.
>> established legally that there's just no core rowlation --
>> but it's bill burns .
>> the message is a little over the top . can't you admit that.
>> i don't know the specifics of this person's case. there's huge anxiety in this country about losing health care . now there's huge anxiety in this country about how people pay for college. again, i don't know the specifics. i do know this, hold on, i know this, that you have a pattern of companies that were bought by bain .
>> that were loaded up with debt, heavily leveraged, bain got paid. bain always got paid. bain got paid hundreds of millions of dollars in many instances and these companies went bankrupt. and when a company goes bankrupt like that, somebody gives you a piece of paper that says you've lost your job, you've lost your health care , you've lost your retirement. do i think that's any way to build on the economy?
>> she got another job and had health care from --
>> he lost his job and she was getting health care through his coverage but also had health care through her employer which followed after him --
>> she still had health care .
>> and then, of course , her death occurred in 2006 . we'll never get you to condemn the ad, i know.
>> i don't know the specifics of the whole --
>> what specifics would you like to know before you can pass judgment on whether that's appropriate?
>> ask away.
>> i don't know the instances of what her health care covered, i don't know whether her insurance company approved every treatment. i don't -- again, i don't know any of the dealings with the insurance company .
>> come on. it's a low blow .
>> i don't like you very much, so that -- we'll make it --
>> does that make you feel better?
>> you're the first person that's been honest.
>> ask a nice question now.
>> to your point, robert , which is a fair point, you don't know the specifics but that ad when it is shown in my living room in the middle country, at 2:00 in the morning, or 5:00 in the afternoon, i don't know the specifics either and i'm watching the ad and i have a visceral reaction to the ad and to sam 's point and to mark's point you have a visceral reaction to this ad. is it or is it not below the belt ?
>> two points, one, you said you're watching an ad at 2:00 in the morning is bizarre.
>> in the swing state of maryland.
>> that is not going to air. mark is right. he's been trying to track down where they're buying it. this was a creation for the cable news circuit.
>> regardless of what it's created for. we're talking about the ad and trying to get a reaction from robert and avoid eed answering the question.
>> it's not an obama ad.
>> as everyone dusts off their white horse and get their footmen ready to put them on their white horse go through an ad we know the romney campaign is entirely responsible for. right. there is a new ad out, that if you're watching at 2:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon, you would believe that barack obama has actually taken away the work requirement for welfare reform . do you think that's a factual ad? do you think that's a true ad? let me preface this by saying there is not an independent person that has looked at that ad, not one person that's looked at that ad, and said it's remotely substantially true.
>> i will -- i will give you that, whether it's true or not true. but the difference between the romney ad and the ad that we're talking about from the obama not supported pac directly or whatever, is that it goes to a different level. it's a different kind of conversation when you're talking about --
>> i'm sorry. there's different levels of truth?
>> but it's not a question of truth. it's a question of whether or not what you're saying here --
>> not a question of truth?
>> in the obama ad is that mitt romney was somehow responsible for the death of a human being as opposed to whether or not in his ad, obama 's policy does what it says or doesn't?
>> i'm trying -- i just want to make sure i understand --
>> there are gradations of truth.
>> but there's a difference when you're talking about truth in the context of my killing your wife or my killing your policy.
>> what rises up to erasing the work requirement in the welfare reform law?
>> what's that?
>> i sloonts have to explain it. are you making me explain the difference between a policy debate and a question that suggests that a candidate for president of the united states killed his wife?
>> wait a minute.
>> are you serious? for someone making me doing this.
>> an ad showing during the olympics. sam said he can't find somebody --
>> it's not even an obama campaign ad.
>> it's not an obama ad. i brought up bill burton's name. everybody know who bill is. bill could not be any tighter than you and the white house .
>> can i get you on the record that you're perfectly fine with an ad republicans said is untrue?
>> i'm not standing here defending an ad. you are or saying --
>> you're playing upon shus pilot saying my hands are clean. i can -- i can do nothing on this ad that suggests mitt romney killed my wife.
>> i love you seem to be adding to the discourse in our political debate labeling me pontius pilot .
>> i'm not accusing you of killing anybody.
>> i think that it is -- it is not surprising that you guys have decided there's differences in gradations of --
>> no. here's --
>> robert --
>> don't put words in my mouth. you asked me and i told you. i'm not defending mitt romney 's ad.
>> but let's play this out. is the ad untrue?
>> i'm going to actually check and see.
>> is there any truth to the charge that we are getting rid of work requirement for welfare coverage?
>> no. don't play the ad yet. i'm going to look at the ad. we haven't played the ad this morning or commented on the ad this morning.
>> roll the ad.
>> so you want to -- listen, you want to play an ad that you say is a lie. why would you want to do that?
>> because i think as a great journalist in this country and somebody that i deeply admire and love --
>> you love me, don't you?
>> i think it would be interesting for the republican -- former republican party chair to say an ad that a campaign correctly has control over, is --
>> and is airing.
>> is factually wrong. substantially and factually wrong.
>> let's be honest here, we've watched this pattern from the romney campaign. this weekend, they put out a statement that somehow barack obama wanted to prevent the military members from voting in ohio . reporters all over the country and reporters all over ohio asked the romney campaign can you point to one thing in a lawsuit that seeks to add extra early voting for everybody that's not in the military? can you point to one thing in the lawsuit that demonstrates that the obama campaign would like to restrict military members from voting and the answer was no.
>> can i guess what the answer was?
>> that's my guess. mark halperin .
>> robert , just as a general matter, because i know you don't control the content of the super pac ads from the campaign, if they do something you consider over the line , will you call them on it or is your posture we don't have control and don't comment on what they do?
>> mark, look, i think people will decide whether it's factual, fact checkers will decide whether or not it's factual. i'm saying if the ad is not true, mark, then one, it's not going to be effective, and if there's an ad that's not true, it shouldn't be running.
>> if you see something they do, you consider over the line you will call them on it publicly?
>> look, i'm not going to make some broad policy on that. mark, one thing i'm not going to do is get involved in super pacs and decide that i need some lawyer to explain to me coordination.
>> i want to make the point, robert 's right on one sense, the super pac ad is provocative so we talk about it. the romney campaign ad which i think has been established as misleading on welfare is airing in the swing states you talked about. there should be a punishment on both sides. and especially when it airs for you to spread mistruths or lies.
>> i think there should be punishment --
>> let me help you out, robert . here's how it goes. robert ? the obama ad that you are not responsible for, is a low blow . but let's look at an ad that's airing that's romney campaign put out which is a complete and utter lie. there you go.
>> that's why i love mika .
>> robert gibbs , thank you very much.
>> still ahead --
>> you know it's a complete and utter lie.
>> i'm telling you what he should be saying, to make his point.
>> wait a minute.
>> let me tell you this is what he's trying to do, run out the clock after saying we didn't look at the ad you want to look at the ad.
>> i tried to run out the clock . what is this in ohio about military voting. not germane to any part of this conversation. just because you're trying to kill the clock. you would accuse me of trying to kill the clock. nice move, robert . you can tell he's --
>> look forward to conventions and all the elections. still ahead, chuck todd and political strategist rich galen joins us from washington . robert gibbs , thank you so much. nice to see you. next, memories of vp stakes past, editor in chief, ron fournier with his take on who mitt romney may pick for his running mate and what the choice may mean for the race. you're watching " morning joe " brewed by